I know that when you're in Washington, it's easy to have a little different perspective of the world. During my D.C. years, I would sometimes engage in long, deep discussions about various pieces of legislation or political ideas that those of us on staff were convinced were incredibly important. We thought everyone back in Minnesota must be discussing this.
Then I'd come back to Minnesota and realize that the rest of the country really doesn't pay much attention to the details of government. They go about their lives and when they think about Washington - if at all - they are usually thinking about the broad, general direction of government and how it will impact their lives. This kind of common sense is much more valuable than all of the political philosophy in the world, and it's easy for Washington folks to lose sight of that.
But even by D.C. standards, it's hard to imagine anyone being as disconnected from reality as President Obama was this past week, following the Massachusetts election. He told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that there was really only one major mistake he had made in his first year in office.
"I think the assumption was if I just focus on policy, if I just focus on this provision or that law or if we’re making a good rational decision here, then people will get it,” he said.
In other words, "You stupid voters aren't smart enough to realize how wise I am, and you should just listen to me, follow along and not ask any questions."
And because we just aren't smart enough, he also said that he plans to spend more time "speaking directly to the American people."
Well, in his first year he gave 158 interviews and 411 speeches, more than any first-year president in history. I don't think the problem is that Americans aren't hearing him. The problem is that they're hearing him, and just don't care very much for what he has to say.
But let's hope he keeps right on talking through November.